Good Food Blog
Say it with flourPosted at 11:30AM, 13 February 2009 by Emily Boyce - Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
With the 14th falling on a Saturday this year, restaurants around the country will be hoping we forget the recession for 24 hours and succumb to the annual Valentine's swindle. There've been some fantastic deals on eating out since Christmas, but inevitably most of them expire, you guessed it, today. In place of great-value vouchers come set-price menus. I don't know about you, but feeling poor and ripped-off doesn't get me in the mood.
Not that this is the first year that money has come between me and romantic bliss. To my shame, I had to borrow cash off my mum to buy the ingredients for the first Valentine's meal I cooked for a boyfriend. Having slaved over my dry paella , I was so frazzled by the time we sat down to dinner that, when he didn't ask for seconds, I burst into tears.
On being handed the set-price menu, at £50 a head without wine, we were both visibly shaken
A few years later, I decided eating out on 14th was in fact a safer option. I booked the cafe offshoot of a well-regarded restaurant, hoping it would provide affordable but impressive food. Which it probably does, every other night of the year. Foolishly, we hadn't checked what the deal would be for the night, and on being handed the set-price menu, at £50 a head without wine, we were both visibly shaken. The one 'complimentary' glass of a lurid blue cava cocktail did nothing to calm our nerves. Nor did the proximity of the tables - by the end of the evening we were on intimate terms not just with each other, but the whole room.
So it's back to Valentine's-at-home for me and probably many others this year, and there are plenty of options out there for us. I'd hope my cooking skills have improved since my first attempts, so I might have a go at something from our Valentine's recipe collection . My step-sister is making her loved one an afternoon tea spread , with scones, cake, crustless sandwiches and all.
For the kitsch-loving lovers out there, forget flowers, it's a cookie bouquet that'll win their affections. You can even get (sort of) heart-shaped lamb steaks . Cook up some reggae-reggae romance with Levi Roots - as long as you and your partner both like garlic... Or if you fancy a night off cooking, many of the supermarkets are offering deals on restaurant-style meals at home - you can even cross the red rose off your list with M&S's package .
Will you be treating yourselves to a meal out tomorrow, or would you rather save pennies and stay at home?